“ Brand: Trattoria Verdi / Type: Lasagne „
I'm sceptical about a lot of frozen "Italian" foods, seeing as hardly any of them taste like the real thing at all, but I am a massive fan of Trattoria Verdi, and in particular their vegetable lasagne. For a few months this year, I was on a healthy eating kick and thought cutting out meat a few times a week would help. OK, so this lasagne actually as more fat in it than some of its meaty counterparts, but after the first time I tried it, I didn't care. When you get it out of the packet it looks pretty rank, just a big solid square of red and off-white...stuff, but a few minutes in the microwave and it looks and smells lovely. The sauce is very creamy and there's a lot of it, but this is contrasted by the crunchier vegetables. Courgettes, aubergines and tomatoes mean that there's a lot of different textures going on and it isn't just one bland taste like a lot of lasagnes are. And yes, it does taste like the veggie lasagne my nan makes, maybe even a tiny bit better in fact :)
Trattoria Verdi is one of the discount brands that are sold in Tesco stores around the country. They offer delicious Italian foods and drinks such as red and white wines, delicious fresh and frozen pizzas, tinned tomatoes, tomato based pasta sauces, dried and stuffed pastas and garlic breads. This is one of the most delicious basic microwave meals I have tasted in a long time. I am not a vegetarian and to be honest you do not realise that there is no meat in the lasagne. The vegetables are chunky and this makes it feel as though you are eating something more substantial. The meal is presented in a cardboard box rather than the plastic trays with cellophane that can be rather dangerous as the plastic shatters very easily and I have been known to have found a number of shards in my meal from time to time. All you do is release one corner and pop it into the microwave for the allotted time. The lasagne is described as 'layers of cooked pasta with tomato sauce, topped with chargrilled vegetables, herbs, cream sauce and mozzarella'. This lasagne does have a very strong smell to it even before it has been cooked. The garlic is very strong but just adds to the overall flavour. Once you remove the lid the meal does not look very appetizing at all - it appears very flat with not a lot of filling. Do not be put off by this. I usually eat straight from the carton but if you pop it on a plate with a little side salad and some crusty bread then it is transformed into something very delicious! The vegetables are very chunky and have that great chargrilled taste. It is a very cheap meal at only 95p and will leave you feeling full for hours. The taste is strong so it may be worth saving this meal for the weekend!
According to Bridget Jones, chick lit and girly mags, the frozen lasagne has come to be seen as the symbol of the sad and terminally single. Nothing more than a load of dubious, cat sick looking gunk, sandwiched between some bits of soggy cardboard. However, those at Trattoria Verdi (and ultimately, Tesco) have blown shown that this is no longer the case. I don't usually buy microwave ready meals, due to their usual tastelessness, suspicious looking ingredients and puzzling textures. (Although I do buy them if I am anticipating being too ill to cook-well, since illness kills your taste buds, I always think the flavour-or lack of-doesn't matter in that case!) So I was surprised to find myself looking at one (partly to do with being drawn in by the nice coloured packaging) and thinking that it looked a bit of alright. As you may or may not know, although I'm not a vegetarian, I don't like meat that cannot be defined-the thought of eating a meat lasagne and potentially chomping my way through eyes, lips and bumholes all minced together doesn't particularly get my mouth watering, but the idea of a plain vegetable lasagne definitely did. Apart from the bright and environmentally friendly packaging, it is a mere 95 pence! So I decided to throw caution to the wind and buy two. I forgot that I'd bought any for a while, but when I did, I just chucked it in the microwave and when it was done, I was pleased to find that unlike my experiences with other ready meals, I wasn't trying to peel scalding hot cellophane that was relentlessly sticking to my skin away, or forced to drop molten plastic containers (that had inevitably broke in transit causing lava-like sauces to ooze out and strip my skin to the bone) It looked good. It SMELLED good. Basically, it's your usual lasagne thang-layers of pasta (not the stodgy variety) interspersed with a gorgeous rich (but not too rich!) tomato-y sauce, the aubergine, courgette and red pepper were nice and chunky and put in more than a small guest appearance. Then, of course, comes the cheese and white sauce layer, which is melt in the mouth and has a few more larger still chunks of veg on top and a sprinkling of herbs. It's a winner on all counts in my eyes-the veg remains juicy, the pasta doesn't seem to crisp and the cheese is the right side of cheesy and filling too. In fact, I have bought several since and after waxing lyrical to my boyfriend about them all weekend, I'm about to go home and make some with a nice salad so he can see what the fuss is about...I know I'm pleased to have found them, but I think he may miss my home cooking after a while ;) Thanks for reading :)